The Faces Of The Cuban Dream

The musical On Your feet! based on the lives of Gloria and Emilio Estefan. (Matthew Murphy)

The musical On Your feet! based on the lives of Gloria and Emilio Estefan. (Matthew Murphy)

14ymedio, Generation Y, Yoani Sanchez, Havana, 20 October 2015 — “What is the Cuban dream?” he asked, as one inquires about the hour, the quality of the coffee, or the afternoon’s weather forecast. Around the table we all remained silent in the face of this question launched by the visitor. More than answering him about the country desired, the provocation made me think about the need for our dreams to reflect that faces of those who hold them, the people who inhabit them.

I remembered this conversation last Saturday, while enjoying the musical On your feet! in a crowded theater on Broadway in New York. Based on the lives of Gloria and Emilio Estefan, the work transcends the story of a Cuban couple making their way in the competitive world of entertainment in the United States, to become a story of nostalgia, tenacity and success.

Before the spectator’s eyes, a story develops beginning with the pain of exile and memories of a life left behind on the island. A reference that is maintained throughout this play, currently being staged at the Marquis Theater in the Big Apple. Directed by Jerry Mitchel, the musical successfully details the transformation of sadness into energy and of the melancholy of emigration into entrepreneurship.

On your feet! is primarily a celebration of Cuban identity that manages to get the audience out of their seats and dancing, with tears still running down their faces. Through the excellent musical performances of Ana Villafañe in the role of Gloria Estafan, and the rest of the cast, the play captivates without becoming cloying, and connects the audience with the culture of our country beyond the stereotypes.

Ana Villafañe and Josh Segarra in the roles of Gloria and Emilio Estefan (On Your Feet!)

Ana Villafañe and Josh Segarra in the roles of Gloria and Emilio Estefan (On Your Feet!)

The musical deserves a prolonged applause not only for its artistic virtues and superb staging, but above all, because it exalts values our society urgently needs to reclaim. It is about the lives of people who inspire in way very different from the models imposed by the Cuban government’s official propaganda. Gloria and Emilio do not provoke uncritical appreciation, fear, docile gratitude, but rather the desire to imitate them… to overcome.

Someday, when Cuban children open the schoolbooks that teach them to read, they will no longer see individuals dressed in military uniform with rifles on their shoulders. Instead of that excessive worship of men at arms, we will find real images of success, of social, scientific and cultural achievements. In those pages the real models will appear, the faces of the Cuban dream.

59 thoughts on “The Faces Of The Cuban Dream

  1. These outstanding beautiful lyrics reach everybody, everywhere, around the world that live away from their countries.

    This video of “Mi Tierra”, shows the inviting musicians playing their instruments: Cachao bass, Sheila E. congas, Nestor Torres flute, Paquito Echevarría piano, Luis Enrique timbales.

    Comments from people of all nationalities:

    Yuniel Sanchez Gonzalez: Hermosa canciòn dedicada a mi Cuba! Este disco es genial, brava Gloria!

    Martine Gentine: J’aime beaucoup ces musiques sensuels !!!!!

    jose luis martinez: Hay dios que rico ritmo amo ser latinoooo

    estefany quiceno velez: Mi tierra bella mi tierra santa……( un bonito menssage a la madre tierra )

    Franco Pensiero: La più bella canzone di nostalgia delle proprie origini al pari dell’Aida

    FlitzenderPuff: Never forget your homeland… you have only one home.

    SuperMarlene01: nunca olvidemos nuestras raices.

    Patricia Vallecillo: viva mi tierra honduras

    Bacha Malang: este casion meda cuerdo de mi tera senegal africa

    Magno Salinas: Juazu que canción!, saludos desde Perú….

    Carmen Bass: Mi Tierra es Centroamerica. HONDURAS

    Maria Teresa Fatima Bello Uniendo Voces: uniendo voces junto a vos: sin duda Gloria Estefan es un icono de la representacion cubana en el mundo es una de mis gran idola si hay una persona que quiera conocer es a ella

    mercedes perez: Celebrating hispanic heritage month

    Megan MCDonald: Bellissima canzone

    Antonella martìnez: SI HABRE BAILADO 93 94 URUGUAY

    Darwin Javier Hernández: Mi Venezuela…

    JairoAgama777: Saludos desde Köln/Alemania a mi Guayaquil/Ecuador querido !!!

    César Sepúlveda: Hermosa canción que muestra el sufrimiento del pueblo cubano ante esa gran mentira llamada revolución cubana que solo ha dejado miseria y más miseria durante más de 50 años, lo mismo que esta pasando en Venezuela.

    francisco serpentin: Como venezolano me veo cantando esto en el extranjero, dios quiera que cambiemos rápido de modelo de gobierno

    Ale luzbelito: La tierra donde naciste , no la puedes olvidar . . Argentina YO NO TE OLVIDO ni muerta ! Gloria estefan amoo esteee temaa!!!!

    JAZZLOVE0111ify: 何回もグロリアの曲を聞いていたら、嬉しくなり、元気になります。英語もスペイン語も分りたい気持ちになります。グロリアありがとう!!(Many times when I heard the song of Gloria, I become happy and I will be fine. You want to understand the feeling in English and also in Spanish. Thank you Gloria!!)

    karina córdoba: Mi tierra nunca la olvido vaya a donde vaya , la tierra que me vio nacer, orgullosa de ser afrocolombiana

    goncho Trival: Cordoba Argentina mi tierra

    Ivelisse Victoria: Mi isla bella, Quisqueya yo no te olvido!!

    sylviane auria Biviga: j’adore cette chanson

  2. FREEDOM HOUSE: Freedom on the Net 2015 – finds internet freedom around the world in decline for a fifth consecutive year as more governments censored information of public interest while also expanding surveillance and cracking down on privacy tools.
    CUBA Status: NOT FREE
    Total Score: 81 – (0 = Best, 100 = Worst)
    Obstacles to Access: 22 – (0 = Best, 25 = Worst)
    Limits on Content: 27 – (0 = Best, 35 = Worst)
    Violations of User Rights: 32 – (0 = Best, 40 = Worst)

    Cuba has long ranked as one of the world’s most repressive environments for information and communication technologies (ICTs). High prices, exceptionally slow connectivity, and extensive government regulation have resulted in a pronounced lack of access to applications and services other than email. Most users can access only a government-controlled intranet rather than the global internet, with hourly connection costs amounting to 10 percent of the minimum monthly wage. Although mobile phone penetration is on the rise, and access to the high-speed internet provided by the new ALBA-1 fiber-optic cable was finally extended to citizens in late 2013 via the opening of new “cyber points” or “navigation halls,” ICT access remains limited.
    CLICK LINK FOR ENTIRE REPORT!

    https://freedomhouse.org/report/freedom-net/2015/cuba

  3. HOW INTERESTING! THE UN RESOLUTION CONDEMNING THE US EMBARGO AGAINST CUBA STARTED 24 YEARS AGO, JUST AS THE SOVIET UNION WAS COLLAPSING! THAT EMBARGO HAS BEEN IN PLACE SINCE 1961, SO WHY NOT MAKE A FUSS ON THE FIRST 30 YEARS??? WAS IT NOT “HURTING” THE CASTRO “GOVERNMENT” ALL THOSE YEARS? OH WAIT! THEY HAD A SUGAR DADDY ALL THOSE YEARS VIA THE OLD USSR!

    WASHINGTON POST: UN overwhelmingly condemns US embargo on Cuba; US votes ‘No’ – By Edith M. Lederer

    UNITED NATIONS — The United States on Tuesday voted against a U.N. resolution condemning its embargo on Cuba, even though President Barack Obama has called on Congress to lift the trade restrictions.

    The vote was the first since the U.S. and Cuban leaders agreed to restore diplomatic ties last December, and the U.S. had considered taking the unprecedented step of abstaining.

    The General Assembly voted 191-2 to condemn the commercial, economic and financial embargo against Cuba, the highest number of votes ever for the measure. Only Israel joined the United States in opposing the resolution, and when the vote lit up on the screen many diplomats jumped to their feet in a standing ovation.

    General Assembly resolutions are nonbinding and unenforceable but the annual exercise — now in its 24th year — has given Cuba a global stage to demonstrate America’s isolation on the embargo and its Cuba policy.

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/the_americas/us-says-it-will-oppose-un-resolution-condemning-cuba-embargo/2015/10/27/23cdf2cc-7cc8-11e5-bfb6-65300a5ff562_story.html

  4. AND OUR DEAR Mario STILL TRYING TO SELL US THE IDEA THAT THE LEFTOVER CUBAN EMBARGO IS A “BLOCKADE”! HE REALLY NEEDS SOME READING GLASSES AND A CLASS ON HOW TO SURF THE NET! ALL THESE CELEBS GO TO CUBA FOR PUBLICITY AND TO CHECK OUT THE NATIVE SOCIALIST IN THEIR NATURAL HABITAT! AND OF COURSE TO LET THEMSELVES BE SEEN AS “PROGRESSIVE”. BUT OF COURSE THEY WOULD NEVER LIVE THERE LIKE ORDINARY CUBAN CITIZEN ON LESS THAN $20/MONTH!

    OBSERVER: Why Is Karl Lagerfeld Going to Cuba? Here’s a hint: He’s bringing along models and a whole lot of clothing. – By Dena Silver

    On May 3, Mr. Lagerfeld will show the brand’s first collection in South America, with his Cruise 2017 range set to debut in Havana, Cuba. According to a release obtained by Fashionista, the collection is a culmination of many years of being inspired by the “cultural richness and opening up of Cuba.”

    The style set’s recent infatuation with all things Cuba has hardly flown under the radar. Brands such as Proenza Schouler and Stella McCartney have cited the island as an influence for their collections and earlier this month, Racked rounded up the slew of magazines that have staged photoshoots in Cuba. They noted that despite past political tensions, the fashion industry has embraced the impoverished as a fitting backdrop for beautiful photos.

    For example, the cover of Vanity Fair this month featured Rihanna roaming the streets and visiting landmarks, as shot by esteemed photographer Annie Leibovitz. W‘s August 2015 issue featured an editorial starring Joan Smalls and Adriana Lima titled “Viva Cuba.” And that same month, Porter magazine captured tapped stylist George Cortina to dress model Achok Majak, who shared the lengthy story with a cast of local Cuban creatives.

    CLICK LINK FOR ENTIRE ARTICLE!

    http://observer.com/2015/10/why-is-karl-lagerfeld-going-to-cuba/

  5. According to Communist propaganda:

    Trade with the USA is bad for Cuba. US tourism is bad for Cuba.

    The embargo is bad for Cuba.

    Which is it?

    The truth is this:

    US actions never hurt Cuba.

    Castro shut down the US embassy in Cuba, seized all US property in Cuba, kicked out US businessmen from Cuba, and then demanded billions in Soviet aid because Communist managers ran all that wealth into the ground.

    Only Communism/Socialism has been bad for Cuba.

  6. Mario, you don’t want Cuba to do business with the USA. You keep repeating that here.

    So why are you against an embargo?

    Thing about it, you must have a few brain cells that still work in that head full of hate and communist propaganda.

    Why don’t you leave the USA alone. Stop trying to “regime change” the USA. Stop being an imperialist.

  7. There are more then enough conflicts on our planet. Hate. Blood. Wars.
    Saudis don’t like Iran. Argentina claims the Malvin Islands from the UK. Japan wants the Kuril Islands back from Russia. It is hot on Venezuela/Columbia border. On the Pakistan/Afghanistan border the situation is even worse.

    And yet all these conflicting parties agree on one thing:
    THE US BLOCKADE OF CUBA MUST STOP.
    In the UN the have just voted 191:2 in favor of Cuba.

    Well, to be exact there are three parties supporting the blockade: the US, Israel and the Miami pack.

    ABAJO EL BLOQUEO

  8. Soon after Castro’s takeover in 1959, the number of Cuban immigrants rose sharply. From 1959 to 1962, more than 200,000 people left Cuba for the United States. Approximately 125,000 more left Cuba on so-called freedom flights, daily flights from Havana to Miami between 1965 and 1973. A similar number were transported to the United States in the summer of 1980 by the Mariel boat lift, an informal fleet of fishing boats and pleasure craft sent by Cuban exiles to pick up relatives from the Cuban port of Mariel. From 1959 onwards, about 50,000 thousands of Cubans reached the United States in small boats and homemade rafts, Many others, above 100,000 thousands, lost their lives trying to escape from the island of Dr. Castro, in the shark infested waters, really and figuratively speaking, of the Straits of Florida.

  9. PEW HISPANIC CENTER: Hispanics of Cuban Origin in the United States, 2010
    Statistical Profile – By Seth Motel and Eileen Patten

    An estimated 1.9 million Hispanics of Cuban origin resided in the United States in 2010, according to the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey. Cubans in this statistical profile are people who self-identified as Hispanics of Cuban origin; this means either they themselves are Cuban immigrants or they trace their family ancestry to Cuba. Cubans are the third-largest population of Hispanic origin living in the United States, accounting for 3.7% of the U.S. Hispanic population in 2010. Mexicans, the nation’s largest Hispanic origin group, constituted 32.9 million, or 64.9%, of the Hispanic population in 2010.1

    Educational attainment. Cubans have higher levels of education than the Hispanic population overall. Some 24% of Cubans ages 25 and older—compared with 13% of all U.S. Hispanics—have obtained at least a bachelor’s degree.
    Income. The median annual personal earnings for Cubans ages 16 and older were $25,000 in 2010; the median earnings for all U.S. Hispanics were $20,000.
    Poverty status. The share of Cubans who live in poverty, 18%, is similar to that of the general U.S. population (15%) and below the 25% share among all Hispanics.
    Health Insurance. One-quarter of Cubans (25%) do not have health insurance compared with 31% of all Hispanics and 16% of the general U.S. population. Additionally, 10% of Cubans younger than 18 are uninsured.
    Homeownership. The rate of Cuban homeownership (57%) is higher than the rate for all Hispanics (47%) but lower than the 65% rate for the U.S. population as a whole.

    http://www.pewhispanic.org/2012/06/27/hispanics-of-cuban-origin-in-the-united-states-2010/

Comments are closed.